As part of the first stage of the launch of the new Points Based System today, the Government launched the register of sponsors.

Under the new Tier 2, to be fully launched in Autumn of 2008, employers will issue their own Certificates of Sponsorship using the online Sponsorship Management System. In order to use the system, employers will need to obtain and maintain their place on the Sponsor’s Register. The ability to remain on the register will depend on the employer complying with and meeting requirements and responsibilities, in areas including record-keeping, reporting, compliance and cooperation (with the Border Agency).

The new Tier 2 system, with the employers sponsor’s register being a key part, is intended to bring about more efficient monitoring of employer practices, and greater compliance through close monitoring, stiff, quickly-delivered penalties.

Employers who fail to comply fully with the relevant responsibilities will be down-graded from an A-rating to a B-rating, and given a clear “action plan” to help them to improve the practices and procedures. If the action plan is not met within the time frame set, the employer may face removal from the register.

At the time of registration, employers will need to state the tiers within which they wish to sponsor migrants. They will also need to state the number of Certificates that they expect to issue. The volumes of issued certificates will be closely monitored against previously agreed quantities and types. It will be important for employers to maintain accurate records, particularly where there staffing needs or recruitment strategy are likely to be reviewed on a regular basis.

Large volumes of detailed guidance have been released today regarding the requirements, conditions, and application process relating to sponsor registration, as well as the responsibilities and obligations of sponsors.

UK Work Permits will be offering assistance to employers in gaining a place on the register, as well as acting as the representative, and offering ongoing assistance with respect to the Sponsorship Management System. More details of these services will be published on our website in the next 1-2 weeks.